Tango Argentino > Teaching Frustration

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by Zoopsia59, Dec 3, 2008.

  1. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    I'll try to simplify. Take fox/waltz and tango (BR) for example. Everyone talks about the walks being different between f/w and tango, btu never much about how/why. One would roll the feet from the floor in f/w which partly creates the softness/rolling actions of the dances. Yet, in tango, one places the foot/weight, thereby using the floor (placing the weight/moving over the foot) quite differently. Better?

    :D And, that's really good enough for most of the time.
  2. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Er...not really...I'm a Standard flunkie, remember? lol.

    No worries, though.

    The floor holds, which works for me.
  3. bafonso

    bafonso New Member

    Try this: the more you press against the floor with the ball of your foot the better you will pivot on your own axis. This is using the floor for much more than just standing on it. It is, without a doubt, the dancer's best friend.

    Also, one can lead steps without moving the torso or upper body exactly because one uses the floor to communicate all those intensions to the partner... The best dancers look like they're magnetically grounded to the floor, there's a reason for that. They use it to move around, instead of moving their bodies on top of it...

    You do NOT need to move your upper torso to lead a simple ocho or simple pivots. You do need to use the floor and have a follower that also knows how to use it and can sustain a connection with a leader. The arms are only maintaining the connection, mostly.

    The upper torso can have wonderful effects while doing an ocho - in close embrace for example - but it is not the driver, it's a way to make it nicer... a leader's adorno if you will. ;-)

    I do know that a lot of people teach to lead with the upper torso. I've danced with a lot of followers that expect it.. but they get surprised when they dance with people that can transmit their lead not using the arms or visual cues such as the upper torso.

    I can always feel if a follower is using the floor or just dancing on top of it. It's a night a day feeling. The best dancers I've had the pleasure of dancing with have acquired the magnetic connection to the floor. pure bliss.

    <put flame coat on>
    Bring it on! :)
  4. bafonso

    bafonso New Member

    If the follower is overturning the pivot chances are:

    - she's doing it on herself based on some sort of cue
    - you are not "with her" during the whole process and thus being able to stop it at any time
    - you are still getting to know your "strong" or not your lead is

    The same applies to everything else. YOu have to BE with her during the whole process, always leading everything. That said, if the follower is thinking of steps, you can't do it... with complete beginners this is very common, everyone is thinking of steps instead of leading and following.
  5. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    Nice post, bafonso http://www.dance-forums.com/showpost.php?p=638743&postcount=43 .

    Another thought for Peaches...just standing quietly, if you wish to rise up (say, to reach a top shelf), you press downward onto the balls of the feet. If you wish to walk forward, you would press differently onto the floor, use the balls differently, and move with a different part of the foot.
  6. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    lol. For most dancers that is about as much information as they care to process.
  7. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Yeah. I use my body in different ways.

    The floor is still sittin' there, doin' its little floor thing.
  8. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    My head asplode. Again.

    (Grounding is still a mystery to me. I guess I'm not magnetic enough.)
  9. bafonso

    bafonso New Member

    You will be, there's no way around it ;-)
  10. happyshoes

    happyshoes New Member

    How does one go about developing this magnetic connection to the floor? Any specific exercises that one can work on?

    Just came back from a rumba class and I feel this might be the dance that brings this quality to the forefront. Your thoughts please.
  11. happyshoes

    happyshoes New Member

    How does one go about developing this magnetic connection to the floor? Any specific exercises that one can work on?

    Just came back from a rumba class and I feel this might be the dance that brings this quality to the forefront. Your thoughts please.
  12. Captain Jep

    Captain Jep New Member


    Wrote a big post in reply but somehow lost it ... d*m* laptop!

    An adorno?! Well we'll have to agree to disagree. In my view there has to be a lead from the chest. It may be minimal and not visible to the outside observer, but it has to be there.

    I suppose ochos are (almost always) a continuation of another movement. If you are both grounded, then you can "feel" the ocho happening as a continuation from that prior motion. However that happens after the chest lead. The chest invites, it's up to the lady to accept (or not)

    (I put this better before, but I cant be bothered to type it all again)
  13. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Thougth I'd chime in with some info on "the floor", even though we are way off Teaching Frustration, although reading everyone's comments on connection to the floor, etc.......

    This is by no means "the Answer", but I think it is valuable for dancers of any kind to try to understand what the heck this is all about.
    I am borrowing from a book "Creative Rhythmic Movement - Boys and Grils Dancing".

    Another approach to walking (and standing, too, it turns out - SP) might be to ask, "Can you walk so we can barely hear you?" What does this feel like?
    Now, "How can we walk so that we could hear every step" "Do you feel any different when you walk lightly or heavily?"

    The standing part works the same way. Make your self heavy. "Root" yourself to the floor. If you have a partner, ask them to push you. If you are "heavy", they have to push harder to make you move than if you make yourself "light". So, try being "light". Pretend you are a feather. You should be easier to push now, than when you were "heavy".

    In both cases, planet Earth is exerting the same force on you, Gravity. You weigh the same.

    I think it's helpful to try these exercises, and work on being "light" and being "heavy", and points in between. The exercises work as well for adults as for children. If the adults can let themselves go to acually experience being 'heavy", and being "light".
    What exactly are you doing with your body? Does it really matter if you know how to do it? (But, we can talk about it if anyone wants.)

    "Using the floor", etc, is the phrase (and there are many others), that we use to describe this experience. Dancers should "know" what is meant when these words are spoken. I like to think about, and try to find specific information on muscle groups, physical forces, etc, involved, but it's not necessary to go that deep to gain an intuitive understanding of what is meant by the vocabulary.

    How we hold our bodies, how we transfer our weight from foot to foot, and how we are in physical contact with our partners, is important in allowing them to "feel the floor" through us, and whether we are "on it" (light), or "in it" (heavy).
  14. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    That's ok... This is a good discussion and its an important issue when teaching, so....
  15. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    It's all good, Steve; this is, often, a form of teacher frustration. I am familiar w/ this book, but don't really agree w/ the exercize. Though a good one, I have found most adults to use/misuse the legs to step/stomp more heavily rather than to actually feel the weight through the feet.

    I often use what we call "Walking the beach". It is simply to move sand around w/ the feet. a simple example would be to stand w/ the feet together (say, weight on left); with the inside edge of the right foot, push sand away from the body (feeling how the "left" foot is weighted/rolling on the floor); w/ the weight now on the right foot, begin to bring them together w/ the inside edge of the left foot, scraping up/collecting whatever sand was left (feeling how the now right standing foot is weighted on/using the floor. I believe this is closer to what you referred to in....

  16. chachachacat

    chachachacat Well-Known Member

    Angelhi, I love the sand analogy! Excellent! It makes you push into the floor.
  17. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Oh...wow! An analogy that actually makes sense to me! :D Thank you, Angel!

    This is pretty much what my teacher has been telling me for...*ahem* let's just say a while...and while the mechanics made sense it never really clicked. This clicked!!! Sweet!

    I'm going to have to think about that this evening (going dancing as soon as I get off the 'puter, get dressed, and dry my hair) and in my lesson this Friday.
  18. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Not exactly, but if it works for other folks, it's good.
  19. Aurora

    Aurora New Member

    Just to toss another idea out there, I had a modern dance teacher who would talk about grounding like this: Stand up and imagine that you have roots growing out of the bottoms of your feet. Those roots go through the floor and down six feet. Now, when you take a step, don't think of pushing off the floor - think of pushing of from the bottoms of those roots, six feet under the floor. (You can also just imagine that the bottom of your foot is six feet below the floor and you are pushing off from way down there.)

    It took me a while to make sense of that imagery, but once I did it worked. I can still feel myself become more grounded when I actually stop and visualize it.
  20. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    What physically are you doing with which body parts to make yourself "heavy" and then "light"?

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